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2p or not 2p? The car park question
DRIVERS have been jamming parking machines with copper coins to get a free day’s parking.
Problems were reported at the well-used School Lane Car Park, in Benfleet .
Now Castle Point Council has taken a tough line with motorists.
It has put up signs saying it is a criminal offence to use 2p coins in the machines and legal action will be taken against “offenders”.
The car park is used by hundreds of commuters travelling to work from Benfleet train station.
Allan Edwards, 41, from Grays, uses it when he visits his grandparents.
He was so baffled by the signs he phoned the council’s legal services team, which told him it was criminal damage to put coppers in the machines.
Officers claimed people had been deliberately doing so to break the machines to avoid paying.
Mr Edwards said: “It’s an odd way of going about it.
“They have a genuine intent to prosecute people who are doing it, but they could do with updating the machines so you can pay by text or credit cards, or, dare I say it, put the fee up to £5 a day so it’s easier to pay.”
Mr Edwards said the daily charge of £4.70 was an “awkward” amount and the machines didn’t give out change.
He added: “I usually have to stop at a shop and buy something unnecessary on the way, so I have the right change in order to park.
“But updating the machines would be better than putting up these threatening signs.”
A council spokeswoman said: “These warning signs have been placed on the machines to overcome a problem where individuals are causing criminal damage by deliberately jamming the machines using 2p coins so they do not work properly.
“The car park is monitored by CCTV and the police are aware.
“The replacement of machines is something that will be looked at as part of the current parking review.”
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